There are a number of different options that you may be able to apply for, to help you fund further education.

Here you will be able to find information about funding and support available to young people in County Durham, all of the information is local to County Durham to help you better prepare for further education.

If you are over 19 and want to undertake further education at Level 3- 6 you can apply for an advanced learning loan (you cannot use this form of loan for higher education) to help with the costs of your study. These loans do not have to be paid back until you are earning over 21,000. If you undertake an access course and then move on to a higher education course, you may not have to pay back the loan.

You can take out a loan for the maximum amount to cover your fee or you can pay all or part of the fee yourself.

For A-levels you can apply for a loan to fund each course you take towards your A-levels, up to a maximum of 4 A-levels. This means you can have up to 8 loans at once if you’re taking each A-level as 2 separate courses. The courses must be in the same subject to qualify for a full A-level. You can also get up to three loans for non A-level courses.

  • Eligibility criteria
    • aged 19 or over (there’s no upper age limit)
    • resident in the UK on the first day of your course (you must have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this unless you meet one of the exceptions
    • studying with a college or training organisation in England that has been approved for public funding
    • enrolled on an eligible course at Level 3 to 6 which includes A-levels, access to higher education Diplomas and other vocational qualifications but not higher education courses such as foundation degrees, degrees, etc.

More information can be found at
You can download an application form at

A small number of students can get a bursary of up to £1,200 per year to help fund their learning at 16-19. You may get the full amount if you have expenses and study full-time on a course of at least 30 weeks. You’ll usually get less, or no bursary, if your course is shorter, you study part-time or have few expenses.

  • The eligibility criteria are:
    • You are under 19 at the start of the academic year.
    • You are studying at school, college, or on an unpaid training course.
  • And meet one of these criteria:
    • In care or recently left care and are considered a ‘care leaver’
    • In receipt of Income Support (or Universal Credit) in your own name
    • You’re disabled and get both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (or Universal Credit in place of ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name

You will have to supply evidence to your school or college who will decide your eligibility.

If you attend a school sixth form, sixth form centre or further education college you usually cannot get funding unless you have a specific need. If you are 16-18 and on a full-time course there is no cost for the course or training but you sometimes have to buy essential specialist equipment.

Some students who are older or studying part-time have to pay fees for their courses at college, as explained in the links below:

Colleges may have discretionary learner support funds which can provide financial support to students to help them access further education. The funds are prioritised for those who face financial hardship and are subject to eligibility requirements. They can be used to pay for:

  • essential course items such as personal protective equipment, uniforms, hairdressing or beauty kit, chef's whites and knives, etc.
  • childcare costs (provider must be registered with Ofsted)
  • travel costs for students over 19 years old
  • course fees

For more information about discretionary bursaries contact the colleges directly or ask at the interview.

Students aged 19 to 23 studying their first full Level 3 qualification might be able to get a grant to help pay for your course. This is dependent on the college or learning provider, check with them directly.

If you are not eligible for a grant you could apply for an advanced learning loan.

Sixth forms and colleges may offer free or reduced price travel on their own school/college buses or subsidised transport on local buses. Each has their own scheme so you will need to check with them before you apply but here are links to their information pages.

Find out more about transport to sixth form or college on the Durham County Council website.

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